Lane takes EverStart Series lead on Lake Eufaula - Major League Fishing

Lane takes EverStart Series lead on Lake Eufaula

March 20, 2002 • MLF • Archives

EUFAULA, Ala. – The $2.8 million EverStart Series opened its second Eastern Division tournament Wednesday on Lake Eufaula with 330 bass anglers casting for a top award of $15,000 cash and a new Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha. When the final angler weighed his catch, Chris Lane, 26, of Lakeland, Fla., stood atop the leader board with a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces.

Lane, a rookie pro who advanced to the EverStart Series through the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, targeted pre-spawn bass holding in deep creeks adjacent to shallow flats. He used a combination of top-water baits, shallow running crankbaits and a worm to cull through 10 fish. His largest bass of the day was a 6-pound, 1-ounce largemouth.

“There are some big names out here,” Lane said. “They are excellent guys, so to be in the lead after day one makes me feel pretty good.”

The $210,000 tournament features 165 pros who supply boats, control boat movements during competition, and fish for a top award of more than $50,000 in cash and prizes and 165 co-anglers who fish from the back of each boat for a top award of $6,000 cash. If the winning pro’s boat is equipped with a fixed-mount GARMIN Fishfinder or combination GPS/Sounder, he receives a $1,000 bonus from GARMIN.

Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., finished opening day in second with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces. Team Fujifilm pro and winner of last week’s Wal-Mart FLW Tour event Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn. (five bass, 21 pounds, 2 ounces); Rusty Smith of Somerset, Ky. (five bass, 19 pounds, 10 ounces); and Brian Randall of McCalla, Ala., (five bass, 18 pounds, 15 ounces) rounded out the top-five pros. Strader landed big bass honors and $750 with a 6-pound, 12-ounce largemouth.

Co-angler Robert Fravel, 66, of Leesville, S.C., led his division with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces followed by Michael Strange of Highpoint, N.C., in second with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 4 ounces. Scott Griffin of Sherrills Ford, N.C., (five bass, 13 pounds, 2 ounces) and Jim Jenkins of Winamac, Ind., (three bass, 13 pounds, 2 ounces) tied for third.

Fravel, like Lane, is a rookie who advanced to the EverStart Series through the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League. He caught his limit using spinner baits and plastic lizards.

Tom Burks of Okeechobee, Fla., earned co-angler big bass honors and $250 with a 7-pound, 2-ounce largemouth.

Overall, 1,093 bass were caught including 127 five-bass limits.

For a shot at victory, anglers in both divisions must secure one of 20 slots in Friday’s semifinal round with their two-day opening round total. Anglers then start from zero and compete for one day to determine the top 10 pros and co-anglers who will fish in Saturday’s finale. Catch weights are cleared for the final day, and the winners are determined by that day’s catch.

Competition begins at 6 a.m. each morning at Lake Point State Park, which is part of the Alabama Bass Trail. Thursday’s 3 p.m. weigh-in will also be held at the park. Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Wal-Mart Supercenter located at 1218 Eufaula Ave. in Eufaula starting at 4 p.m.

Now in its fifth season, the EverStart Series features three divisions – Eastern, Central and Northern – with four events each plus the $325,000 no-entry-fee EverStart Series Championship presented by Conseco. The top 50 pros and co-anglers from each division will be invited to the Championship for a shot at top pro awards of more than $60,000 in cash and prizes and top co-angler awards of more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

The top 10 pros and co-anglers from each division also earn priority entry into the 2003 Wal-Mart FLW Tour where they could win up to $260,000 and $40,000 in cash respectively while fishing at the sport’s highest level.

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